Whatever the historical origins of Thanksgiving may be, this quintessential American holiday could well be an International Baccalaureate festival, for the gratitude for our blessings which undergirds Thanksgiving animates a recognition of our common humanity and encourages responsibility for stewarding our planet’s future.
Through our cultivation of a grateful heart here at Long Trail School, we can be confident about what our students will contribute to our community and beyond. To invoke Adam Grant’s classifications in his erudite book Give and Take (2013), we expect to develop “givers,” rather than “takers” or “matchers.” A taker attempts to seize as much as possible from others: what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine. A matcher is transactional, doing good in response to what he may receive in return: what’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine, and from time to time we’ll trade. A giver, in contrast, gives without expecting anything in return, as the most profound investment in our shared destiny: what’s yours is yours and what’s mine is yours, for together we’ll create more and better.
As Grant shows through social science research and arresting anecdotes, it is usually this giver who enjoys the most corporate, academic, and artistic success. An organization – such as a school – filled with givers performs best. Moreover, while a giver risks being taken advantage of or burning out, givers tend to be happier and healthier. The more personal the gift, the more valuable, whether in time or wisdom or money or a well-placed introduction. The giver, by willingly sharing these gifts, creates an environment in which the most valuable social capital becomes how high we stretch to show our thankfulness for who and where we are by helping others grow. These beneficiaries of our bounty in turn pay this gratitude forward in a virtuous cycle.
I am grateful to each of you for your commitments to our school community. You inspire me, day in and day out. On behalf of our trustees, faculty and staff, I extend to you and yours warmest wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
/s/ Seth Linfield
Head of School